On live TV raped Orissa nun relates horror tale (Lead)

October 24th, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Appearing live on TV news channels, a scarf covering her head and face and her voice faltering, a sobbing nun who was allegedly raped by a mob in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, Friday dramatically narrated her tale of horror and the total apathy with which the state government and political parties had turned a blind eye to her woes.”One of them tore my blouse and the others my undergarments…They pulled out my sari and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah,” the nun said at a press conference here of the incident Aug 25.

“When it was over, I managed to get up and put (on) my petticoat and sari,” she told a shocked nation.

It was a painful journey the Indian nun had to endure all the way from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi to draw attention to her plight because, as she herself has said in the past, she had lost faith in the Orissa Police to bring the perpetrators, alleged to belong to the Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal, to book.

This message came out loud and clear at a press conference at the Indian Social Institute when, flanked by Christian leaders, when the nun read out her handwritten statement that often made quite a few in the audience wince in horror.

Not surprisingly, at the end of the 15-minute hair-raising narrative, the nun was in no frame of mind to take questions and was quickly ushered out of the room by another nun and an advocate.

After the rape, the nun and Father Thomas Chellantharayil, in whose house she had taken shelter after their shelter was burnt down and from where they were dragged out by a mob of 40-50 people, were made to walk on the road to Nuagaon market, which was half a kilometre away.

“They made to fold our hands and walk. I was with petticoat and sari as they had already torn away my blouse and undergarments. They tried to strip (me) even there but I resisted and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back several times,” the nun said.

Personnel of the Orissa Special Armed Police were present at the spot but didn’t even attempt to intervene, the nun alleged.

Eventually, the nun and the priest managed to find their way to a police station, where the officials initially refused to register a complaint. They relented only after she underwent a medical examination and then too, what was recorded was an extremely watered down version of the incident, the nun said.

Replying to queries, the Archbishop of Delhi, Father Dominic Emmanuel, said the nun had come to Delhi in the hope that the Supreme Court would reverse its decision against ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry into the incident that has sent shock waves throughout the country with the Pope expressing sadness over reports of anti-Christian assaults in India and European leaders seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention in the matter.

At least 36 people have died, thousands rendered and dozens of Christians shrines vandalised in violence that erupted in the coastal Indian state after the killing of a Hindu religious leader.

The Supreme Court had Wednesday “it does not feel the need to have a CBI inquiry, at the moment”.

Dominic said that since decision was “for the moment”, the nun’s open admission and “narration of injustice under the state system would make the requirement felt”.

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